Not So Flimsy Reed

I have a fair bit of Lou Reed in my collections either as mp3 or as stand-alone beginning with his Velvet Underground years. On the shelves are: Velvet Underground: Underground+Nico (1967); White Light/White Heat (1968) (super deluxe: 2013); Live MCMXCIII (1993). His solo work: Lou Reed (June 1972); Transformer (Nov 1972); Berlin (1973); R’n’R Animal ( Feb.1974); Sally Can’t Dance (1974); Metal Machine Music (July 1975); Coney Island Baby (Dec. 1975); Rock & Roll Heart (1976); The Wild Side (1977: best of); Take No Prisoners (1978); The Bells (1979); Growing Up In Public (1980); The Blue Mask (1982); Legendary Hearts (1983); New York (1989); Magic and Loss (1992).

I remember first hearing that first lp with its mix of Nico Eurosex, John Cage’s avant guard sensibility, Reed’s druggy punky insolence filtered through Andy Warhol’s Factory lens & thinking wow! Music clearly not intended for the Top Ten. Adult stuff. Who knew then that it would be fine of the most influential lps of the 60’s – thanks to songs like All Tomorrow’s Parties we have the seeds of the entire Goth, emo genre.

As I go through this list I have to resist the temptation of talking about each lp. My favourites should come as no surprise Berlin; Sally Can’t Dance; Coney Island Baby – each full of songs that spoke to me with memories of growing up different, of trying to please parents etc. The engineering & production of these is also stunning. Metal Machine Music is not a fav but it is an astonishing fuck you to the industry & created the grind core genre. the live Take No Prisoners is a ride on the wild side highlighted by Reed’s enraged rant against a certain reviewer.

He was a artist who knew the power of persona & could back it up with great music. He went from that punky heroin junky rebel to survivor of childhood to lover to Factory artifact to mourner for HIV holocaust to revered rock icon. 

Then to round out some of the mp3 cds I added: to one of them Lulu: Best of; Jimmy Reed: I Ain’t From Chicago (blues); AC Reed: Junk Food (blues); Superelvis: Happiness Is Stupid (fun Spanish art rocker); Donovan: Beat Cafe (like Reed another 60’s druggie survivor). On another is Fleetwood Mac: self-titled, English Rose (early bluesy work by the band); Ultravox: Systems of Romance (remember what I said about seeding the emo genre); Jefferson Airplane: 2400 Fulton St. (west coast survivors of the druggy 60’s); Brian Ferry: Dylanesque (did I mention Reed’s Dylan tendencies); (a couple of modern Goth blues techno bands) Mount Kimbie: Cold Spring Faultless Youth; King Krule: EP; 6 feet Beneath The Moon. Wymond Miles: Earth Has Doors (dense art rock verging on grind core jazz)

Finally Jimi Hendrix: Live At Woodstock – because of all the live Reed lps & the endless takes on Sister Ray on the Super Deluxe White Light. Not familiar with Reed – try any of the many hits compilations, do NOT start with Metal Machine Music or Take No Prisoners.

Nico’s Nirvana News

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